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Thread: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

  1. #21

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 05
    Title: Alone in the Dark
    Country: United States
    Year: 1982
    Director: Jack Sholder




    The bad news - you start your first day at a psychiatric hospital late due to car problems. The badder news - the inmates believe you’ve killed the doctor you’re merely replacing. The baddest news - those inmates have now escaped and know where you live…


    I believe I first became aware of Alone in the Dark (Not to be confused with the 2000s film of the same name directed by the…unique Uwe Boll) through the Fangoria paperback release of ‘101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen: A Celebration of the World's Most Unheralded Fright Flicks’ that came out in the early 2000s. Sadly, I don’t believe I have the book anymore, but it was a great resource in terms of discovering hidden gems particularly in a time period when I was trying to grow my horror knowledge outside of just the major franchises. Much like 1980’s Terror Train, a main point of initial interest in Alone in the Dark stems from the fact that it stars an actor from Halloween, in this case Donald Pleasence, in a film where there’s a lot of similarities that can be found between it and Halloween.

    The biggest similarity between Alone and Halloween is tied around Pleasence. In both cases, he plays a doctor whose job is to watch over the convicted killer(s) that ends up escaping to go on their murdering spree. Part of the fun of seeing Pleasence as Dr. Leo Bain is that Bain could not be any different in his attitude towards his patients than Loomis. Bain is such a free spirit and believes in all of these new age attitudes towards mentally disturbed people that it got to the point where I began to suspect that the creators of the film may have had an issue against doctors, so they purposely wrote Bain to be the biggest nutjob of the film with his refusal of accepting that the escaped inmates, who are extremely dangerous, are actually dangerous. Meanwhile, Pleasence, as Loomis, initially wants to keep Michael Myers locked up forever and when Myers escapes, opts to shoot first and ask questions second. I would love to see a scene with Loomis and Bain interacting because Loomis’ reaction towards dealing with Bain would be so entertaining.

    Tension is also another strength of Alone in the Dark. Although I do like the Night of the Living Dead-like trapped inside of the house climax of the film, I prefer the middle of the film for setting an unease tone. This occurs the morning after the four inmates escape the asylum with three of them finding where Dr. Dan Potter and his family live so that they can punish him for the “Death” of their former doctor. The viewer feels that anticipation that something really bad could happen. There’s the initial tease of that sees the pyromaniac, The Preacher, interacting with Potter’s wife while disguised as a mailman. Nothing ends up happening, which remains true for the next interaction when Potter’s daughter, Lyla, returns home from school to find another inmate, Fatty, waiting for her. This scene is the best of the film because Fatty is described as being the four hundred pound pedophile. I cannot fathom how anyone can watch this scene of an oblivious Lyla alone with Fatty without being on the edge of their seat. For a child actor, I found Lyla to be really likable as she has all of this attitude, but it never gets to the point where she becomes annoying which can be so common. So meanwhile, the viewer is all scared that something terrible is about to happen, Fatty is desperately trying to talk Lyla into taking him up into her bedroom, and Lyla is being a spunky kid who is turning down all of Fatty’s advancements without understanding what peril she’s actually in. Luckily, nothing happens to Lyla, but when the camera cuts away from the house for a bit, you’re left scared for her safety. Finally, after a couple of set-ups without delivering on a kill, Bunky, the babysitter, and her boyfriend, end up being slaughtered by the trio of inmates when they decide to have some “Adult alone time” inside of the Potter’s own home. Bonus points for one inmate terrifying Bunky by slashing a knife up through the mattress from under the bed in a scene reminiscent of that one awesome vacation episode of Married With Children.

    While typing up this review, I decided to throw Alone in the Dark on again in the background and it occurred to me just how obvious the big plot twist of the film - Tom Smith is actually the fourth escaped inmate - The Bleeder. Although we never saw The Bleeder’s face early in the film, we saw plenty of the back of his head and he matched Smith’s look obviously exactly. I believe the reasoning for why I failed to put together the obvious link is because whenever The Bleeder is on the screen, he isn’t the focus. So the viewer may be seeing him a handful of times with his face obscured, but something is drawing your eyes elsewhere on the screen. In fact, the one time that The Bleeder is front and centered stage is after the escape when the four inmates go into town to grab weapons and The Bleeder dons a hockey mask (A year before Jason Voorhees first wore his) to commit his first murder. It was only late in the film when Smith began acting visibly…off that I remembered that he was revealed to be an inmate.

    Speaking of my memory of the film being a bit off, I had gone into this re-watch under the assumption that Dr. Bain would be revealed as one of the patients. In fact, it seemed as if everyone Dr. Potter interacted with at the hospital seemed like they may have been “Crazy”. This goes for both inmates and employees of the asylum. This theory that Potter had unknowingly joined a facility with the inmates running the asylum was even backed up by the appearance of a young Lin Shaye (A couple of years before her cameo in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street) being allowed to “Play” receptionist at the asylum because the doctors believed being allowed to do so helped her fragile mind despite technically being an inmate herself. Same thing goes for a guard of the asylum - Ray Curtis. He seemed off to me in how he began talking with Dr. Potter on Potter’s first day, but it occurred to me that if you were working in a place like that, chances are you’d be acting a bit odd too. Throw in the fact that Potter’s own grown sister, Toni, had had her own mental health problems and the movie is filled with a lot of “Off” characters. I realize the way society looks at mental health is completely different today compared to how we did decades ago, but my assumption is that the initial pitch of the movie was “A doctor surrounded by nutjobs has to deal with crazies plotting revenge after they believe he killed the doctor he’s replacing”.

    Overall, ever since first seeing Alone in the Dark, I’ve been a fan. It tends to be a film that doesn’t receive a whole lot of talk rendering it a hidden gem to this day, nearly twenty years after first reading about it as a hidden gem in that Fangoria book. For whatever reason (I presume rights issues?), the release of the film has not been ideal. A DVD of it came out in 2005, but I believe it quickly went out of print. Currently, I don’t believe it’s available to stream anywhere in America, that includes to buy, rent, or as part of a streaming service. Luckily, the fine folks at Shout Factory just released a beautiful Blu-Ray to make watching it far easier. Check out Alone in the Dark to see Donald Pleasence play a very different sort of doctor as compared to Dr. Loomis and witnessed such legendary actors as Jack Palance and Martin Landau as deranged killers.

    Grade: A

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, Jim wanted to wrap up his coverage of one franchise…now he’ll regret his wish.

  2. #22

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 06
    Title: Wishmaster 4
    Country: Canada/United States
    Year: 2002
    Director: Chris Angel




    Still reeling from a motorcycle accident that left her boyfriend in a wheelchair, Lisa’s life becomes even more tumultuous as she unintentionally awakens The Djinn hellbent on granting her three wishes to allow the entire Djinn race to take over the earth.


    When I first got really into the horror fandom around the turn of the new millennium, the Wishmaster franchise was surprisingly more prominent than you may think. Looking back now, I'm not entirely sure why the series was so well known. The first film made a bit of money at the box office, but after that, all of the sequels were either made for cable or straight to video. It's not as if any of the films were actually good, including the first film. By 2002, the series was already on its deathbed with its final film promising us a Djinn victory at last.

    Despite being filmed back to back with Wishmaster 3 in 2000, Wishmaster 4 showed the signs of the changing times in movie studios’ attitudes regarding numbered entries for franchises. Nowadays, the film is now referenced as the fourth film in the franchise, but when the movie first came out, the title it was sold on was as Wishmaster - The Prophecy Fulfilled. Safe bet is that this was a move inspired by Dimension’s handling of the Halloween and Hellraiser franchises. It's a curious move to really hammer home the ‘Prophecy Fulfilled’ name when spoiler alert...the prophecy is never actually fulfilled. This lack of follow through is tied directly into the theme of the movie - love.

    For those of you who may not be diehard Wishmaster fans, here's the basic gist of the overall plot. An evil Djinn is awakened by an unsuspecting person rubbing his red jewel, thus making that person ‘The Waker’. Being a walker means you get to make three wishes, which the Djinn will grant you. After the completion of the third wish, The Djinn can open the portal door open for ALL of his Djinn buddies to enter earth and reek havoc. Obviously, not good. So when our Waker, Lisa, still unaware that she's dealing with an evil Djinn, offhandedly makes her third and final wish - that she could love him for who he truly is. Now, this occurs midway into the film, so you'd think that the second half would be all about an army of Djinns wrecking shit up. Instead, the Djinn, much to the annoyance of his buddies, takes pause and rules that he can't grant such a wish since love can't be forced otherwise it wouldn't be true love and ultimately, Lisa doesn't even know who he truly is. That's already Ludacris, but the Djinn then sets out to earn Lisa's love instead of doing something simple such as prompting her to wish for something else.

    In the Djinn’s quest to earn Lisa's love, the viewer is faced with the harsh reality that the theme of the movie isn't truly about love, but rather sex. You see, the Djinn believes that the only thing keeping Lisa from loving him for who he truly is (Besides being an evil genie from another world in a body to resemble her lawyer friend, Steven) that she still loves her crippled boyfriend, Sam, who the Djinn (or rather Steven represents in a lawsuit stemming from a terrible motorcycle accident that led to Sam's injuries). Now, it's very clear that there's zero happiness left in the Lisa/Sam relationship. Obviously, going through such a life altering event such as an accident that led to Sam being paralyzed, mounting bills, and a lawsuit against the motorcycle company responsible for the faulty brakes would cause problems in any relationship, but seemingly all of the issues are tied around Sam's own insecurities about not being able to bang Lisa anymore while also being jealous that Steven might be trying to pound his girlfriend. Even when the Djinn goes to Lisa's friend to try and figure out what Lisa needs in order to win her heart, all the friend says is the ol’ in out, in out. Poor Lisa is like a cat in heat, needing a screwing badly enough that she's inexplicably having wet dreams about getting a shag from the Djinn before even learning that Steven is dead and the Steven she's been interacting with is the Djinn wearing a Steven mask. This Lisa/Sam relationship is so hollow that at the start of the film when we're shown a montage of them happy prior to the accident, it's just them knocking boots in their new home. I don't understand why they're still a couple anymore and even when Sam accuses Lisa of only sticking around until the settlement comes, it doesn't make much sense to me. They're not married. There's never one passing mention of Lisa being involved in the accident. Why would she be guaranteed to receive 50% of any settlement?

    The thing is, it's not just the crux of the love triangle that is built entirely around sex either. Some of the Djinn's granted wishes are sex based. Lisa's friend wished for killer sex so she began moaning while raising up the wall before her moans of pleasure became screams of agony as...something apparently happened to her. At a strip club where the Djinn tries to lure Sam away from Lisa by offering to pay for a shag with the headlining stripper, the Djinn grants another wish, this time from the bartender who wished to be a pimple on the stripper’s ass. So...I guess he died? Sadly, we never see his face on the stripper's ass, instead he disappears with the viewer left to assume he's now...a pimple. There's lastly one odd wish granted when a waitress wanted to be passionately kissed like she saw two customers kissing, so the Djinn made it so that a bunch of customers began grabbing the waitress to pull her in for a kiss and I suppose that's it. No kill, just a bit of sexual assault. Yay?

    It may not be sex based, but Wishmaster 4 offers the oddest addition to the entire franchise - The Hunter. After Lisa made her third wish that leaves The Djinn…flummoxed (?), a mythical hunter is summoned to try and prevent the great Djinn uprising from occurring. Carrying a giant ass sword, The Hunter channels his inner Terminator 1 by searching for Lisa, hoping to kill her before The Djinn can grant her wish. This means any bystander that happens to be in The Hunter’s way gets slayed. As much as this character feels entirely out of place, there’s not a whole lot of logic attached to it either. Why is The Hunter trying to kill Lisa rather than going after The Djinn? Why was The Hunter only summoned after the third wish was made when, in theory, wishes are always granted immediately until this third wish predicament occurred. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for The Hunter to be summoned after The Waker brought The Djinn back to give The Hunter a fighting chance? I’m convinced that The Hunter sub-plot was added just to pad out the running time because the first time there’s an interaction between The Hunter and The Djinn after The Djinn comes to Lisa’s rescue, The Djinn just straight up kills The Hunter, eliminating that threat from the remainder of the film. What did The Hunter truly add to the story? Nothing really. Delete his scenes entirely and nothing changes.

    If there is any strength to the film, it’s some of the violence. Despite the original film being directed by Robert Kurtzman, one of the founding members of KNB Effects, the make-up effects went to SOTA FX starting with Wishmaster 2 and remained there for the remainder of the franchise. SOTA was one of those special effects groups that I’d see mentioned here and there in Fangoria Magazine, but I never saw them as being in the A-Tier of special effects like I do with KNB or Tom Savini. SOTA was responsible for the special effects in such past Fright Fest films as Jack Frost 2, Halloweentown 2, and Wishmaster 2. Basically, a bunch of part 2s. The best scene of the entire film revolved around The Djinn, as Steven, is on the phone with the lawyer representing the motorcycle company as The Djinn pressures the lawyer into accepting a settlement agreement all while Lisa is sitting in Steven’s office, unaware that the lawyer on the phone is horrified at having his hand possessed into mangling his own face. It’s pretty gnarly with all of the blood, how graphic it is, and the hilarity of two of the lawyer’s coworkers pounding away on a window, seemingly unaware that if they truly wished to help, that they could try going through the office door instead of banging on the window. Any time there is a kill where we actually get to see it (I’m still disappointed at the lack of a pimple on a stripper’s ass), it delivers. As this is early on in CGI, when the film does try to introduce some CGI late in the film, it doesn’t look nearly as good as the actual practical effects. Although I don’t mind SOTA’s design of The Djinn’s look, he was shown in daylight far too often. Like many horror creatures, The Djinn looks best in various forms of darkness especially with shadows. When he’s just out in the real world with natural lighting, he looks like a cheap Power Ranger villain.

    Overall, any time I go into a Wishmaster watch, I desperately wish to enjoy it. I love the concept of an evil Djinn granting wishes with a twist. The character is essentially Freddy Krueger late in the Nightmare franchise. What’s not to love? The films are just not good though. With Wishmaster The Prophecy Fulfilled, you have a clunky movie that relies too much on sex to the point that it could very easily be altered a bit to turn it onto a full on softcore flick. Without the original Djinn, played by Andrew Divoff, Wishmaster 4 feels like a poor version of an already not so hot movie. I’m comfortable with calling The Prophecy Fulfilled the worst of the Wishmaster movies.

    Grade: D

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, let’s see how an old favorite is now faring on the small screen.

  3. #23

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 07
    Chucky
    Title: Death by Misadventure/Give Me Something Good to Eat
    Season: 1/Episode: 1/2
    Director: Don Mancini




    Long before being terrified into switching the channel away from 1978’s Halloween before having to turn the channel back to Halloween to see if the babysitter managed to survive, my earliest experiences with the horror genre came at the start of the nineties whenever I’d go to my dad’s place. There, with my sister and cousins, we would watch whatever Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, or Child’s Play film we could find playing on cable. I distinctly remember watching the likes of ANOES 2/4, Friday 3, and Child’s Play 2/3. When I became fully invested in jumping into all of horror after watching Halloween, those three franchises were the first full series I went back and watched. To this day, I remain a big Chucky fan and count Child’s Play 2 among my favorite horror films of all time.

    Yet, there is one aspect of the Child’s Play/Chucky series that I’m not too high on - Don Mancini. Although I can respect the man for being the one that initially came up with the Chucky concept, when looking at my franchise ranking, it’s a stark reminder that his style does not gel with me. Case in point - my top four in the series are all the ones that Mancini had nothing to do with in terms of directing (Child’s Play 2/3, Bride of Chucky, and Child’s Play remake), the one in the middle is the one where he merely came up with the idea (Child’s Play original), and the bottom three are all the ones Mancini wrote and directed (Seed of Chucky, Curse of Chucky, and Cult of Chucky). When Mancini has total freedom over Charles Lee Ray, especially when the budget is tight, the end result tends not to be too pretty.

    When news first broke of a Chucky TV series, I had mild interest. It came at a good time in that we were just learning that the 2019 remake would alter a lot of things including Chucky’s design and finding a new voice actor for the doll. With the fear that the remake could be a disaster (Which ended up not being the case as I felt it worked for what it was), Chucky fans could hold out hope that at least we had the TV series to rely on to continue on from where the last movie left off. However, while the remake came and went, few updates were released for the television series. Admittedly, 2020 must have delayed everything, which is certainly understandable. Between the remake being a hit in my eyes and the television series taking so long to get going, by the time the SyFy/USA Network show - Chucky, was now ready to kick off, my interest levels were pretty low. After all, this would be a show with Don Mancini in full control.

    Right away, it’s worth mentioning that the series does not pick up where that batshit crazy ending of Cult of Chucky left the film franchise with Chucky having successfully launched an army of fellow Chucksters and even Nica possessed by the spirit of her own father, Charles Lee Ray. At least with this premiere episode, we get a completely new story of a Chucky doll being found at a yard sale with even the owner not knowing where it came from. It’s very possible that the TV series will be connecting with Cult of Chucky at some point, but I do think it was a wise decision to simplify the story to allow any potential viewers to jump right in rather than forcing them to watch Cult of Chucky to understand the sheer chaos that was happening in that film.

    Instead, Chucky tells the story of an outcast middle schooler, Jake. Jake’s life isn’t too hot as it’s just him and his alcoholic father and it seemed as if something happened in Jake’s semi-recent past that caused him to lose all of his friends. The strongest possibility is that the ostracizing occurred when Jake came out to his school. Being an out and proud man himself, this is an area where Mancini’s input actually feels as if it may be a big positive as he can handle it respectably. Personally, I think the strongest possibility is that everyone is weirded out by the fact that Jake’s obsession is his lifesize mannequin made up of doll heads. Jake gets points for being creative in trying to slowly put together this creation, finding doll parts in a variety of ways, but it’s a little weird. Meanwhile, to emphasize Jake’s life being so unusual and poor, his father’s brother’s side of the family is the complete opposite. His uncle (Played by Devon Sawa in a weird dual role as he’s also playing Jake’s father…but with a beard) is wildly successful, the mom is still in the picture, and their son, Junior, is not only popular and successful, but also straight. This contentious relationship with his cousin is made worse for Jake by the fact that his crush happens to be Junior’s best friend - Devon. All while Junior’s new girlfriend, Lexy, is the school’s mean girl, who already sees Jake as an easy target for abuse.

    Perhaps I should have gone into this first episode with low expectations, but not a whole lot occurs with Chucky himself. It’s all about the character introductions, little teases for things to come, and finally allowing Chucky to be revealed as being alive near the end of the episode. We managed to see one Chucky kill in the episode, but it was a massive dud for me. In a surprising twist, Jake’s alcoholic father, who actually seemed like he may have had some depth to him as my initial thought was that he wasn’t truly a bad guy, just someone whose life had gone to shit, the booze isn’t helping, and he desperately can’t relate to his own son, ends up being killed as Chucky gets him to be electrocuted by puking liquid on the dad’s shoes when he was trying to restore the power down in the basement. This is the first time we’re seeing Chucky in action in this entire episode and he’s puking? Really? It felt like such a cheap Don Mancini tactic that had almost ruined the series for me over the last fifteen years.

    Now, it’s at this point in the review in which the review really stalled out. I began the review multiple days ago and it sat unfinished because it felt as if I was trying to pull teeth trying to figure out something to discuss in this underwhelming first episode. Apparently, procrastinating can sometimes work out as episode two just aired. Deciding to watch that episode before finishing up this review ended up being beneficial. While I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the series still, episode two was a big improvement over the first one. This time around, we actually got to see Chucky in action rather than spending nearly the entire episode with him just as a Good Guy doll. Our KILL OF THE WEEK™ this time features Annie, the maid for Jake’s uncle’s family being shoved into some knives pointed upward while in the dishwasher. It’s a huge improvement over last week’s kill, but also allows for the police to begin to suspect if Jake may be behind the deaths of not only Annie (Since he’s now living with his uncle’s family) and his dad. Chucky is a fun character and when he’s able to just hang out and banter in his Chucky-sort of way (Acting as if murder is completely normal) it’s actually great fun. Although we’re only getting this in little snippets each episode, I’m also enjoying the flashbacks to Charles Lee Ray as a young child. Frankly, I’m far more interested in seeing more of that than seeing whatever is going on with Jake, Junior, Lexy, and company.

    While I did enjoy this episode more than episode one, a lot of the same issues I had remain. I don’t like the age group of the characters. With Jake and the others being in middle school, it feels weird to me that they’re written like they’re in high school. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but it does not feel natural at all to see such characters going to a big beer party and I’m creeped out when Junior and Lexy tried having some fun “Private” time in a bedroom at the party. With the remake featuring a similar age group of kids, I thought it handled the treatment of the characters a lot better rather than just writing them as if they were some dollar store version of Riverdale characters. Lexy is absolutely the worst of the bunch though. Not only is her writing aged up some, but she’s way too over the top in being an antagonist. Case in point, in episode two at the Halloween party, she came dressed as Jake’s dead father, entertaining the fellow partygoers by pretending to be electrocuted. The electrocuting gag went on for too long, but it also felt way harsher than what some class bully would have done. Kill off Lexy and focus on her on the scale prodigy younger sister and her fascination with Chucky instead.

    Overall, am I enjoying the new Chucky series? Ehh…kinda in episode two, not really in episode one. Am I willing to keep watching? Maybe. I’m not interested at all in the dynamics of the residents of Hackensack, but I do perk up whenever Chucky is on screen and Brad Douriff is able to bring that character to life again. I’m all for the series becoming more connected to the previous films, which seems like a possibility especially since Chucky even made mention of having a gender fluid kid in episode two. I can appreciate how progressive the series can feel in their casual attitudes towards the LGBT+ community, but I honestly don’t feel as if Mancini can be depended on to do anything beyond that. If you’re a big fan of Chucky, like I am, put it on the background and zone in and out depending on whether or not The Chuckster is on the screen.

    Grade: C

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, another 80s icon returns to the small screen, this time in feature film length.

  4. #24
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    I haven't seen the last few movies but Terror Train and Alone in the Dark I was totally unaware of. I've seen Alone in the Dark pop up a ton on sites and recently Shout! Factory but I always thought it was the terrible Alone in the Dark from 2005 with Christian Slater so I just dismissed it completely. But now I'll have to put it on the list, may even watch it before the month is over.
    I also somehow never knew there was a 4th Wishmaster, I've got the first 3 and was always a fan of the series but I'm not sure if your review makes me want to watch the 4th.
    Alright, Chucky... I've tried to like the Childs Play series but after Child's Play 3 I just can't get into any of them. I feel like Curse and Cult of Chucky were phoned in and mostly filler to try and keep the franchise alive. I completely agree with you about Mancini tho, it reminds me of Chris Carter and the X-Files, where he just needs to step back and let someone else take it over.

  5. #25

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundercat View Post
    I haven't seen the last few movies but Terror Train and Alone in the Dark I was totally unaware of. I've seen Alone in the Dark pop up a ton on sites and recently Shout! Factory but I always thought it was the terrible Alone in the Dark from 2005 with Christian Slater so I just dismissed it completely. But now I'll have to put it on the list, may even watch it before the month is over.
    If you're a fan of 80s slashers, both Terror Train and Alone in the Dark are must watches. Alone in the Dark's "Legacy" is absolutely hurt by the 2005 film, but at the same time, it's not as if New Line (Or whoever owns the current rights) have put in much effort to keep it relevant over the decades. Terror Train may not be the most well known horror, but it's always been fairly easy to find a copy of the film - both pre-streaming and now in the streaming age.

    I also somehow never knew there was a 4th Wishmaster, I've got the first 3 and was always a fan of the series but I'm not sure if your review makes me want to watch the 4th.
    If you physically own the first three and consider yourself a fan of the series, I mean...what do you really have to lose by checking out Wishmaster 4? It's made by the same people that made Wishmaster 3, although I don't know if that makes watching it more or less tempting.

    Alright, Chucky... I've tried to like the Childs Play series but after Child's Play 3 I just can't get into any of them. I feel like Curse and Cult of Chucky were phoned in and mostly filler to try and keep the franchise alive. I completely agree with you about Mancini tho, it reminds me of Chris Carter and the X-Files, where he just needs to step back and let someone else take it over.
    Frankly, I'd be alright with getting a Child's Play 2 to continue where the 2019 remake left off.

  6. #26
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    I haven't watched anything you have put up but it has given me a few ideas to watch later.

    The Chucky TV show I have yet to watch as the wife does not like Chucky. It may be something I watch later if it's that slow it seems or not as good. I mean if episodes 3 and 4 speed things up I may give it a go. I did hear Andy was coming back for the show.

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  7. #27

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 08
    Title: Slumber Party Massacre
    Country: South Africa
    Year: 2021
    Director: Danishka Esterhazy




    Decades after her mother narrowly escaped with her own life against the power drill killer, Russ Thorne, Dana and her friends decide to return to the scene of the crime for some stress relieving fun. Once there, the girls encounter a group of guys part of a Russ Thorne true crime podcast fan club. By nightfall, both groups will hear the sound of the power drill coming for them…


    Thus far in Fright Fest 13, we’ve taken a look at a Fantastic Fest 2021 entrant and a new series on SyFy. As it turns out, today’s film ends up combining both of those into one release. For me, the biggest surprise coming out of Fantastic Fest 2021 was all of the attention that the Slumber Party Massacre remake was receiving. Perhaps it was just my own Twitter feed, but it seemed as if those who saw it had an utter blast watching Russ Thorne going back on a killing spree with his power drill. It’s because of this warm reception that I was disappointed to learn that Slumber Party Massacre would not be included in the Fantastic Fest @Home line-up. The only way to see the movie as part of the festival was going to an actual Fantastic Fest screening. That is until the announcement that SyFy had bought the rights to the film and much like Netflix’s There’s Someone Inside Your House, a wide release would occur for all to enjoy in October.

    Right away, the fact that the new Slumber Party Massacre film is now a made for TV movie means it’s going to have to be vastly different from the original. Originally released in 1982, Slumber Party Massacre was one of those cheap slashers seemingly designed to cash-in on the slasher boom with all of the emphasis being on showing T&A. It’s because of this that I ended up putting off watching the movie for many years. When I did finally get around to catching it in 2017, although I dug the massive power drill as the killer’s weapon, I found the movie to be dire. The killer isn’t even wearing a mask! The script is a bit of a mess as there’s two stories playing out over the course of the story with the plot involving the sisters seemingly having little to do with the actual plot involving Russ’ massacre. Despite my issues with the original, particularly in how it’s a soulless T&A flick, it wasn’t meant to be that initially. In fact, the movie was written and directed by women with the intention of being a feminist film that would poke fun at the new tropes that slashers were leaning into so hard with its treatment of women at the start of the 80s. It was pressure from external sources that forced changes into the story to present it as more of a serious horror, thus losing its social commentary.

    Being that the new Slumber Party Massacre is a made for TV movie, this played directly into the original intention of the 1982 movie. Now, the remake can’t even show tits even if they wanted to, but it went further than that. There isn’t any male gaze in the movie, but there’s plenty of female gaze. The movie tries its best to flip expectations on its head by having the men get in a pillow fight with the women drooling while watching the display. There’s even a shower scene where a male is sexualized by pointlessly panning up and down his body. It’s an utterly ridiculous scene, but it’s also a reminder that this isn’t any different than when it’s done a billion times with women.

    While I liked the meta commentary in There’s Someone Inside Your House, Slumber Party Massacre goes so much harder in that direction making for a fun experience. Some of the commentary is tied towards being woke (IE. The men having to take over, ignoring the fact that the women are the ones more prepared), but other portions of it are more generic and feel more in line with Cabin in the Woods. Especially in the first half, there’s one twist after another to not only keep the story feeling fresh, but also to assure the viewers that this isn’t just some generic slasher. The most important twist in the first half is the girl power one where we learn that the girls didn’t intend to go into Russ Thorne’s territory just to party, but rather they’re attempting to lure him into coming after them so that the group’s leader, Amber, can kill Russ to free her mother from the burden of being the one survivor of Russ’ previous massacre in 1993. The one disadvantage to showcasing so many twists is that the viewer begins to expect them and I found myself correctly guessing them well in advance once we entered the second half.

    The biggest drawback to Slumber Party Massacre being bought by SyFy is that it did force some edits. The most obvious edits occurred during the outdoor shower scene involving one of the guys in the true crime podcast fan club. Since you apparently can't show bare man ass on cable in 2021 (Oh, I'm sorry, I thought this was ‘Murcia!), the filmmakers decided to just add to the joke by first pixelating the bare ass and later adding CGI steam that magically vanished when the camera pans back up. While I'm content with the edited version for that scene, I get the sense that each kill was edited as well, which I'm obviously not as pleased with. The frustrating thing is that there are some gnarly kills in the movie, but the viewer isn't shown enough of the gory beauty to fully appreciate the practical effects. Luckily, an unedited version will be coming to Blu-ray and to non-SyFy streaming services. It's great news as I'm all for dropping a few bucks to buy an unedited Blu-ray. For recommendation sake, this does present a bit of a pickle. I'm all for recommending this movie to others, but honestly, if an unedited version is coming out in the not so distant future, it's probably better to just wait so you can experience the movie just as the Fantastic Fest viewers got to see it.

    Overall, I surprisingly had a blast with the new Slumber Party Massacre. It perfectly understands not only what it is, but what it wants to be. It’s so meta and contains so much comedy to keep it a lite watch. As I said though, I don’t know if I can truly recommend it yet though since it’s already been announced that an unrated version will be coming soon. Regardless, Slumber Party Massacre not only exists on its own, but is a treat for any viewers of the original (Or even its sequel with the killer guitar that makes a return).

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, it's time to ask that all important question once more - do you like scary movies?

  8. #28

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 09
    Title: Scream 4
    Country: United States
    Year: 2011
    Director: Wes Craven



    While out on a tour to advertise her book on being a survivor, Sidney Prescott, returns to Woodsboro where she meets up with old friends, family members, and new residents. However, with Sidney’s return also brings back Ghostface, hell bent on forcing the little town to learn what being in a horror remake is all about.


    For better or for worse, the original Scream trilogy was a nicely compact story that perfectly utilized the rules for original horror movies, sequels, and trilogies. While there had been rumors of a potential Scream 4 dating back to the early 2000s, it wasn’t until 2008 that the news officially broke that the series would be rebooted…and the original characters would be returning. By the time the movie did come out in spring 2011, it had been eleven long years since the previous installment. Although it would lack an obvious set of rules to play off of as you’re not going to find rules for the fourth movie in a series, a lot had happened in the world of horror in those years for this new Scream to play off of.

    Thanks to the fact that Wrestling Clique has been around for so many years, I’m able to go back and re-read my initial thoughts on the possibility of a Scream 4. Suffice to say, this must have been when I was still firmly in the camp of “Scream sux”. In June 2009, my stance was simple - “Please, for the love of God don't make another one of these shitty slashers.” Frankly, I was surprised to see how negative I was since I had thought I had come around on the series before then. Not to mention, when Scream 4 did come out, I was a big fan and for so many years I considered it to be my second favorite of the franchise. Watching it again for the first time in a few years, I now feel a bit conflicted…

    Fundlemantely, I feel my biggest issue with the film is the same issue I had when it first came out, but only now those feelings are so much stronger. As much as I enjoyed Scream 4, it’s…a pointless movie? For many years, I attributed this belief to the fact that Scream’s core 3 - Sidney, Gale, and Dewey, all lived yet again, but I now see that it’s a bigger problem than just that. Early on in the pre-production, writer Kevin Williamson announced that he’d be rebooting the series while bringing back the original actors. How exactly do you attempt to accomplish that unless Sidney meets Ghostface for the first time again? Just as all of the previous entries explored rules to surviving a horror movie type, Scream 4 went hard on exploring the rules to horror remakes/reboots. Scream 4 isn’t a remake or a reboot though. The film is trying to explain rules and showcase those same rules, but this was not the story that was fitting for such a mission. It creates this weird dynamic where characters keep bringing up remakes, but the film never feels like anything other than a weird part 4.

    In theory, Scream 4 could have been a remake in the sense of it being the start of a new story. You see this with horror sequels all the time. All of the original characters have been killed off or the actors portraying them have moved on from horror, so the series is forced to create new characters that can remind moviegoers of the past favorites. I think it could have even been this type of remake while even bringing back Gale and Dewey as long as they’re the pre-credits kill to officially usher in this new era. Instead, what we get is the introduction of a bunch of new high schoolers with the characters reminding the viewers of characters from the original Scream. Randy Meeks was now split amongst Charlie, Robbie, and even Kirby (Who also served the role of the Tatum to Jill Roberts’ Sidney). Jill was not only meant to be the new Sidney, but she was literally a family member of Sidney while having the suspicious boyfriend, Trevor, who the film goes in hard to try and draw comparisons to Scream’s Billy. While it can be rare for a franchise to stumble onto likable new additions to the cast by this point in the series, look at another one of Wes Craven’s franchises - A Nightmare on Elm Street, and it’s surprisingly good luck with creating great new protagonists in Kristen and Alice to carry the series post-Nancy. As mentioned, none of these new teenagers live. I know some fans are holding out hope that maybe, just maybe, Kirby could still be alive since we never saw her body after being stabbed by Charlie, but that seems like wishful thinking in line with predicting an eventual return of Stu. There is, however; one new character who does survive - Dep. Hicks, whose entire role is tied just to Scream’s core three.

    This refusal of letting the past go and moving on hindered the film's story. In the case of Jill and her friends, we don't get to see enough of them. Trevor especially felt under developed as we never see or hear his perspective of his relationship with Jill. A deeper understanding of their past would help add meaning to Jill's eventual reveal as one of the two Ghostface killers and ultimately the one who murdered her ex. With what little we know about them, it just sounds like Jill was cool with killing Trevor solely because he dumped her after giving him her virginity. Jill's relationship with her mother came off as odd as well since it seems as if they have some sort of heavy past with Jill being mistreated, but it's never hinted what it could be. My favorite kill of the movie occurred when Jill's mother is attempting to block the front door to keep Ghostface (Jill) out, only for Ghostface to stab her own mother through the mail slot for the surprise kill. This should be a huge kill for Jill to do, but it's merely a minor footnote due to the script. The callousness of the teens to refuse to let their Stab marathon die, even after their own friends are killed hardly make them look likable, but perhaps by dedicating more time to them, this could have been fixed.

    Since the teens only get half the movie length, the rest of the time is dedicated to Scream's core three. Personally, I feel Sidney is wasted. Not as badly as Scream 3, but the fact that Neve Campbell's return to the series was so up in the air that Kevin Williamson even tweeted out his frustrations with writing a Sidney-less story leads me to believe that maybe Sidney’s subplot was tacked on at the last minute. Remove Sidney and I wouldn't say that the movie changes. Dewey is an odd character as he clearly shouldn't be alive, but he keeps surviving each movie so Williamson is forced to just give Dewey the standard story of being the one trying to solve the murders. Gale's subplot is the best of the three. As Dewey shouldn't be alive, we're forced to keep returning to a relationship that cannot work due to Dewey and Gale being such different people. Yet, this reality is the basis for Gales journey as she's lost her mojo and doesn't know how to be the ruthless Gale Weathers while being Mrs. Dewey Riley. Unfortunately, Gale is essentially taken out halfway into the movie, thus failing to complete her own personal journey. It’s a small issue, but I’m also not a fan of the lighting in the movie. I would describe it as being a warm picture. It’s a mostly dark movie with the light coming from various light sources. The result is just a very different look from the previous three films. Had it been an original movie, I would be fine with its lighting choice, but I’m just not fond of it looking unlike any other entrant in the franchise.

    Despite having a lot of grievances about the movie, I do like a lot of things about Scream 4 as well. I may have not had the patience to truly enjoy them during my first watch, but with each subsequent watch, I dig the multiple intros. It’s a bit over the top and goofy, but it’s a great play on the ridiculousness of late franchise entries. It also allows for more of Williamson’s own commentary on the state of horror with Kristen Bell’s annoyance of Anna Paquin’s non-stop bitching being particularly entertaining because at one point or another, the viewer has been in both Bell and Paquin’s shoes. Jill Roberts’ character may be underdeveloped, but I like how dark she goes after the Ghostface reveal. For this girl, who nothing bad has ever truly happened to her, is so quickly willing to murder family, friends, and exes just for the opportunity of fame is pretty bonkers. This also plays on another larger social commentary of the movie with Williamson at times coming across like an angry old man, hellbent on expressing his disdain for millennials and everything wrong with them. How this new generation cares more about fame for doing nothing and caring about others. With every other movie and its killers, the explanations for why the murders happened were a lot more understandable. They’re mostly tied around emotional distress that pushed the characters into killing (Billy, Mrs. Loomis, Sidney’s brother). Here, neither Jill nor Charlie have an actual reason to kill, but the idea of stealing and taking Sidney’s attention for her own is too much for Jill to pass up.

    An odd thing about Scream 4 is that it feels way ahead of its time. At one point, Charlie and Robbie are predicting the future of not only horror, but also murders and how killers will eventually start recording all of their kills in order to release it online before they’re caught. Had Scream 4 came out even five years later, I think it would have felt even more natural and timely thanks to the continual rise of social media, streaming, and cases of teenagers expressing this wildly unlikable character on a show or social media all to become “Internet famous”. Think about it this way, where Robbie’s prediction feels dated is the belief that killers will need to create their own sites and try to draw traffic. We’ve literally had cases where someone will murder a person and immediately go on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat to start recording the aftermath. Back in 2011, the internet felt so different from how it was back when the original Scream trilogy was released, but the internet and technology has advanced so much further just since 2011 than it had the previous ten years.

    Overall, Scream 4 could have been the start of a new era of Scream. Instead, it ended up being a film that failed to offer anything new and ultimately didn’t lead the way for a sequel to come over the next decade. The film simply fails to sort out a reason for why it needed to exist. Yet, for a pointless movie, it is a fun ride with a bunch of bloody kills, a killer who is the most coldhearted in the entire franchise, and plenty of entertaining talk regarding then-recent horror remakes. It may be flawed, but it’s a much easier watch than Scream 3 and although I think I now prefer Scream 2, it’s not as if Scream 2 was without its flaws. Hopefully Kevin Williamson has learned from Scream 4 to create a superior sequel with the upcoming Scream 5.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, the film that best represents 2020 horror.

  9. #29

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 10
    Title: Host
    Country: United Kingdom
    Year: 2020
    Director: Rob Savage




    During lockdown, a group of friends join a Zoom meeting to hang out and engage in different activities. Haley’s choice for the night is a séance that ends up going terribly wrong.


    In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, a worldwide pandemic has altered the lives of everyone on this planet. This was never more true than in the spring of 2020 when things got real especially for America as the unthinkable occurred - the world shut down. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we were/are living through an event that will be taught in schools in the future. Depending on where you live in the world, you may have dealt with more or less lockdowns than the rest of us. At least as an American, spring 2020 was unlike any other period in my entire life. Businesses closed up, professional sports either went on hiatus or started running in empty business, and the only thing more deserted than the streets were the toilet paper shelves at grocery stores. As we were all forced to remain indoors, the necessity of being online to continue to exist in society grew exponentially. Without being able to go into the office or spend the weekend hanging out with friends, services like Zoom started to be used by seemingly everyone. In fact, the first time I’ve ever used Zoom was around this time period.

    While Host isn’t the first browser based horror movie, as films like the Unfriended movies, Searching, and Open Windows all came out around in the five year span prior to the pandemic, it was the one that capitalized on the fact that since we, as a society, was all going through this event, we could all relate to a Zoom-based experience. You really have to respect just how quickly writer/director, Rob Savage, came up with the idea. The world shut down in March 2020. Host debuted online by July 2020. That’s an insane turn around for not having any semblance of a story to having a finished product. It all began in April 2020 when Savage stumbled into creating a viral video as he decided to prank his buddies on a video call by complaining of strange noises coming from his attic and when he then went up to investigate, he then spliced in the legendary attic jump-scare from the prior Fright Fest film, [REC]. Chances are, even if you’ve never seen Host, you likely have seen that viral video somewhere. With that, Savage had the idea to turn that tiny fragment of a gag into a feature length film.

    Part of what allowed Savage to film Host so quickly is that it’s not the most ambitious movie. In fact, some don’t even consider it as being a feature length movie because it’s only fifty-six minutes long. Not only does that eliminate a lot of filler, but this was one of the elements of this time period that is reflected on in Host. Zoom meetings had a time limit with a lot of people only learning that around this time. The movie literally ends with Zoom meeting running out of time. Unlike the other browser based movies that came before it, Host is reflective on a very specific time period to the point that (Fingers crossed), it’s going to feel terribly dated far sooner than any other browser flick because of additions like Jemma taking the time to put on a surgical mask before rushing out of house, Jemma and Haley realizing that they couldn’t hug so they instead bump elbows, and there’s some lighthearted banter built around having to hide coughs with farts instead of the other way around. Although areas of the world were opening up, to some degree, by the time Host came out, it was still such a topical film. Now, that’s also potentially a negative with the movie since there’s going to be plenty of people that won’t want to be reminded of this time period in world history both when the movie first came out and in the future due to the grief that may come from those memories.

    Like many others, I originally saw Host back when it first came out and although I found it to be a solid enough movie, I didn’t see it as being all that special beyond being a time capsule for spring 2020. Now, seemingly the rest of the horror community? People went wild over this movie. I’ve seen some people call it one of the best, if not the best, horror movie of 2020 with the ratings being substantially higher than mine. The thing is, there’s not much to the movie. It’s a browser based supernatural flick. Combine Paranormal Activity and Unfriended and you have the basic body of Host. This time around, I enjoyed the movie a bit more. Part of it is this odd sense of nostalgia that played well in trying to find the characters likable. A little moment like Jemma and Haley forced into elbow bumping instead of hugging made them easier to connect with because like anyone else, I had to experience that as well. I think with the first watch, I struggled to like most of the characters since no one was taking the séance seriously, despite Haley’s plea for them to do so before the meeting officially began. Now though, I see the séance as a poor online group activity choice by Haley. She’s clearly the only one into it and this isn’t exactly an easy activity to get into if you have zero interest. Mind you, most friend groups spent this time watching movies or playing games through Zoom. Without much running time, the movie also manages to successfully make each character memorable in some capacity with the character tidbits such as Caroline’s crush on Teddy or Radina in a bad relationship caused by moving in with a new boyfriend for the quarantine. Most of the scares are jump based, but particularly the final scare at the very end of the movie got me despite knowing what was going to come. Again, Host is only fifty-six minutes long, so it’s such an easy watch.

    Overall, Host is very much a surface layer horror movie. As I said, it’s a bit Unfriended, a bit Paranormal Activity, mashed together for an enjoyable enough breezy fifty-six minutes. Where Host is truly notable is the time period in which it was filmed and released. For better or for worse, it perfectly captured that scary and awkward period during lockdown when everyone’s lives were turned upside down while trying to adjust to not only maintain whatever normalcy you could, but also to keep your sanity. For this sub-genre of browser based horror/found footage-like, if you can just find a movie where you don’t dislike the characters, that’s essentially good enough. Host’s biggest strength is that it’s this tiny movie, made for pennies, over such a short period of time, yet it ended up being surprisingly widely known. I know a lot of people love this movie more than me, but I think this movie was at least well worth the watch especially if you watch it in the context of being stuck at home, preferably some type of device that is not your television. If you are a big fan of Host, I recommend looking up the 2021 movie, Dashcam. It’s another browser based scare flick by Rob Savage using a lot of familiar faces. I haven’t watched it yet, but it seems as if it’s Savage’s attempt at recapturing Host’s success.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, grab your ‘Stephen King Rules’ t-shirt because it’s time to howl at the moon.

  10. #30
    The Only 2x WC HOF
    Shock's Avatar

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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Good review, I liked Host. I feel like the whole webcam/skype call horror thing has been done a few times over the recent years but at least this one made a lot more sense than some others. I don't think I liked it quite as much as Unfriended, but for a film that's under an hour it was well worth a watch.





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  11. #31

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    Good review, I liked Host. I feel like the whole webcam/skype call horror thing has been done a few times over the recent years but at least this one made a lot more sense than some others. I don't think I liked it quite as much as Unfriended, but for a film that's under an hour it was well worth a watch.
    I'm just a cranky old man, but when I watch Unfriended, I can't understand why these darn kids need to go on video calls with their little friends after school when they've already spent the day together in person. What's wrong, MSN Messenger is too good for you little brats? But Host's Zoom Meeting? I can relate to that.
    ---

    So, it just turned October 28th. I have seven films left to still watch and review (Although the next review is nearly completed) and I work the next four days except for Saturday, but I'm going to the movie theater to watch The Wolf Man/The Invisible Man (Check out the Fright Fest archive to read my old reviews on those!) double bill, so even that day I won't have tons of time to try and get in multiple movies to try and finish this on time.

    So...it's clear that Fright Fest 13 will be going into November. I'm going to leave it up to you guys for what I should do. I know this hasn't been the most active Fright Fest thread, which can be said about WC as a whole and message boards in general, but if there's any interest in me turning this final Fright Fest into a full 31 movie review thread to go until the very end of November, I'm cool with making the change. Otherwise, Fright Fest 13 will remain a 17 movie review thread and will finish in early November. I suppose if I make this into a full 31 days of OctoberintoNovember, I could cover anything really big at the end of October (Antlers) or November (The New Resident Evil flick) and even knock out multiple movies in a series.

    So - I'm committed to finishing this final Fright Fest despite having to push it into November, with the only question being is if I aim for 31 reviews or finish at the original goal of 17.

    Spoiler:

    so...

  12. #32
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Would love to see it continue. I don't post much anymore but have always followed along to these. Even when I stopped watching wrestling I always kept checking in on these each year.

  13. #33
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    We want more! We want more!


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  14. #34
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Feed me more!

  15. #35
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    I vote 31. I don't have much to say these days, but I enjoy your reviews thoroughly.

  16. #36
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    I vote for more!
    Can't wait for Antlers, hopefully I can go check it out early to come chat about it.
    Good review on Host, I just watched it this afternoon and I think what makes it enjoyable is the short runtime. I feel like some similar movies struggle to get to an hour and a half to an hour 45 mins. Host doesn't really have much filler which made it easier to digest.
    Also I don't think you've ever reviewed it (unless I just missed it) but if you need another movie to get to 31 I'd vote for the nightmare on Elm Street remake, or even just which thoughts on it.

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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    I vote for whatever Jim feels like doing. I don't want him to neglect his real life job, because of us...

  18. #38

    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Day: 11
    Title: Silver Bullet
    Country: United States/Netherlands Antilles
    Year: 1985
    Director: Daniel Attias




    A small, sleepy town in 1976 deals with a werewolf on the loose with only a kid riding in his trusty wheelchair - Silver Bullet, determined to figure out the truth.


    To give everyone an idea of how long it’s been since I’ve seen the Stephen King werewolf movie, Silver Bullet, my last watch was when I owned it on VHS. My memory of the film was merely that it was an ‘Okay’ werewolf flick that ultimately failed to be able to compete against the bigger werewolves movies of that time period. The fact that I tend not to have the highest opinion on the werewolf sub-genre, where there’s a few classics (The Wolf Man, An American Werewolf in London, Ginger Snaps), but then the rest are average at best. Although not requested this year, I seem to recall Silver Bullet being requested to be reviewed in past years of Fright Fest. Thanks to the fact that I just recently purchased the beautiful Shout Factory release of the 1985 movie, now seemed to be the right time to finally revisit Silver Bullet to see if my opinion had changed.

    The positive news is that it has changed! Although I still don’t think that it can truly compete against the heavy hitters like The Wolf Man or An American Werewolf in London, Silver Bullet still stands out as an above average wolfy tale. Part of the appeal is that it is a Stephen King tale. King has such a noticeable style where he prefers bringing horror to small, little towns and loves to romanticize looking back at childhood. Whether King intended to do so or not, the fact that a now-adult Jane was looking back at her younger brother’s adventure with a werewolf when they were kids through narration made me question whether or not Marty (Played by Corey Haim) would end up surviving. After all, if he were to survive the werewolf, why isn’t he narrating the story? The idea of killing a kid in a horror movie isn't unheard of, but it’s pretty serious and rare stuff when it does happen.

    Forget absolutely everything else in the movie, the biggest strength of Silver Bullet is just the fact that it features the epitome of casting. Gary Busey as Uncle Red was a flawless choice by the casting director. I would try to describe Uncle Red’s character, but like…it’s Gary Busey. He’s this screw-up that is now facing yet another divorce and he fails to have any sort of filter. His nephew, Marty, practically worships him. I suppose part of the appeal of Uncle Red to Marty is that Red doesn’t treat Marty any different because of the wheelchair. He’s just this fun uncle who hooks Marty up with an even cooler version of his Silver Bullet. For Marty’s sister, Jane, being that she’s a few years older, I think she’s starting to see what a screw up Red is and how it’s not quite as “Fun” as Marty still views his uncle. As for Marty and Jane’s mother, Red’s sister, seems like she wishes she could keep her brother from interacting with her son, but gosh darn it, Red cares so much for Marty and Marty is always so excited to see his uncle. If you’re Marty’s mother, you may hate how crass Red is around Marty, but when you’re already worried for your son due to him being confined to a wheelchair, you absolutely don’t want to take away one of the biggest joys in his life. Basically, Uncle Red is an endearing loudmouth and is equally annoying and awesome, with your opinion of him depending on your own age and maturity. Gary Busey was a perfect casting choice.

    Werewolf wise, I thought Silver Bullet managed to deliver. The kills were gory and violent. The movie literally began with one drunkard having his head slashed off his body. Another kill was preceded by the soon-to-be victim watching some Brian f’n Adias wrestling on JCP TV, which is always fun to spot wrestling being shown on a movie/TV show. Although, this does technically create a goof since the movie is set in 1976, so what is this guy doing watching a match from 1984 (I think?) Are you some time traveling wizard? Maybe that’s why he had to be killed by the priest turned werewolf since the wrestling fan was following satanic ways through watching wrestling from the future. I really liked the werewolf transformations as well. Obviously, the all-time greatest transformation scene occurred in An American Werewolf in London, but Silver Bullet features a pretty killer reverse-transformation at the end of the movie.

    Since I have not read the Stephen King novella that Silver Bullet is based on - ‘A Cycle of the Werewolf’, I don't know if King is to blame or if something was lost in translation when adapted into a screenplay with the story apparently being changed a fair amount, but it seemed like Silver Bullet was offering something unexpected for a werewolf movie - providing an explanation for why the werewolf targets certain people. With the werewolf being revealed to be Reverend Lowe, it seemed to make sense that the werewolf was killing…”Problematic” residents. Two targets were town drunks with the latter also being a lousy father. The second kill was a newly pregnant woman in the early stages of attempting suicide after the father of her unborn baby wanted nothing to do with her anymore upon learning of the pregnancy. So in the reverend's eyes, if he had to go around killing his fellow neighbors, then it might as well be these unrespectable people (Although in some weird way, he may have been trying to save the woman's soul by preventing her from killing herself…by doing it for her). However, that theory goes out the window when the werewolf kills one of Marty's friends. So which is it, does the werewolf target people for specific reasons or is it random?

    Overall, I enjoyed revisiting Silver Bullet after ignoring it for so many years. Between this, Friday the 13th Part 4, and The Lost Boys, the ‘Two Coreys’ managed to make some memorable and fun horrors of the mid 80s with Feldman even popping up again before the end of the decade with The ‘Burbs. While the werewolf looked good and provided some gnarly kills, the star attraction had to have been Gary Busey as Uncle Red. This was a role where Busey could be his wacky self, but also show some endearing qualities. The fact that I actually cared about the characters, particularly with how Marty and Jane have such a believable relationship, one moment at total odds, but then the next they’re showing some vulnerability to do the right thing in ensuring that they make up for any mistakes they may have made against the other. So as far as siblings in horror in the 80s go, Marty and Jane were one of the strongest pairs. If you still collect physical media, check out Shout Factory’s release from a few years back as the film looked great in HD…although that may have something to do with the fact that I last saw it on VHS.

    Grade: B

    Fright in Motion:

    Spoiler:


    —

    Coming up next, grab a pair of black leather gloves because we’re heading to Italy.

  19. #39
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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Silver bullet is one of my favorite Steven King adaptations ever. I think it was well done for the time as well.

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    Re: Fright Fest the 13th: The Final Fright Fest

    Quote Originally Posted by Thundercat View Post
    I vote for more!
    Can't wait for Antlers, hopefully I can go check it out early to come chat about it.
    It doesn't seem as if Antlers is playing at my local theater, so if I do manage to catch it to review it, it'd probably be late November.

    Also I don't think you've ever reviewed it (unless I just missed it) but if you need another movie to get to 31 I'd vote for the nightmare on Elm Street remake, or even just which thoughts on it.

    Sent from my LM-Q910 using Tapatalk
    You'll be getting your wish. In fact, it was actually going to be the next review until I decided that I wasn't in the mood and went with a giallo instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bro View Post
    I vote for whatever Jim feels like doing. I don't want him to neglect his real life job, because of us...
    Man, I feel like we're under completely different interptations of how my life is going currently.

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