Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween 2010: October 29

“Kolchak: The Night Stalker” “Demon in Lace”
This one has a great supporting cast. Keenan Wynn as an antagonistic police captain is the best. Kirstina Holland is also quite good as an enthusiastic college reporter that develops a friendship with Carl. Crazy as it sounds, if the show had continued, I wouldn’t have mind seeing her come back as potential love interest. Holland and McGavin have good chemistry. You’ll also want to watch out for Mortica Addams and the voice of Frosty the Snowman among the minor parts. The episode certainly offers a different take on the succubus legend. I’m not sure if the wild variation on that legend was just the writers cooking up a version friendly to 70s TV or an intentional deviation. Either way, it works. Up until the final few minutes though, were things get seriously silly. Still, I liked this one, pruney face old woman demon included. (7/10)

Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
You mind be wondering why I gave this one a second view, considering how negative my previous review was. Well, that was a while ago, before I really grew to appreciate eighties trash-horror. The guys over at The Bodycount Continues really love this movie so I decided, if it was good enough for them, it must be good enough for me, right?

Well, I don’t know. I still don’t think much of this one. It’s obvious the director really had no interest in the previous “Friday the 13th” films. This one doesn’t feel anything like the films before or after it. The atmosphere it does have is one of sleazy eighties cheese, which does have its charms. The biggest issue is the characters, which are even more nondescript then is usual for these films. There’s stuttering kid, new wave girl, a brunette, a couple defined solely by their desire to screw. The final girl is completely bland and undefined. Tommy does almost nothing until the end. Often, characters, like the anachronistic leather jacket wearing hoods or the coked-up couples, are introduced just to be killed minutes later. The redneck retard son and his mom are easily the most despicable, obnoxious characters in the entire Friday mythos. Reggie and Demon are at least amusing but even they have the same, over-the-top shrill tone as everyone else does. Complaining about characters in a “Friday the 13th” movie might seem counterproductive but, I don’t know, is it too much to ask for?

This is the third or fourth time I’ve seen this movie and, only now, do I realize that Tommy is meant to be a red herring, hence his lack of presence throughout the movie. It is that obvious, right from the beginning, who the killer is suppose to be. Roy makes a wholly unthreatening killer.

The direction in this movie is really weird, especially the rough zoom-ins on people’s faces as they’re murdered. Many of the scenes in the house and forest have an odd, unrealistic feel to them, as if they were shot on a sound-stage. The movie does have plenty of nudity. The hedge-croppers-in-the-eyes chick has some nice ones. There are one or two decent kills, though too many are cheap machete stabs. “A New Beginning” isn’t as bad as I remember it being, but it is as awkward, off-center, and generally stupid. I can see the camp appeal here, but it’s not the good kind of down-home cheesy camp I like, but instead a mean-spirited, mid-eighties kind of “Different Strokes” camp that leaves a sour taste in my mouth. (5/10)

Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
I really love this movie. First off, Angela, as presented here, might be one of the most sympathetic and generally likable slashers around. Sure, the viewers are usually on Jason’s or Freddy’s side, but Angela is different. Most slashers are either vicious unrepentant psychopaths or mindless brutes killing for vague, Freudian reasons. Angela just wants to make camp a nice place. She’s something of a tragic figure, clearly chewed up and spit out by the world and now she’s trying to reassemble her reality into something that’ll make her peaceful and happy. Of course, that just happens to involve killing anybody who rubs her the wrong way… She’s so delightfully demented, but there’s something sad about her too. Pamela Springsteen is perfect in the part.

This movie is also a hilarious satire, not only of eighties slasher, but eighties pop culture in general. All of the kids are named after the member of the Brat Pack. Angela’s revulsion to sex seems to go along with Regan era attitudes, though she herself is obviously a lesbian, clearly in love with Molly. (The scene where Angela, in her frumpy nightgown, tells Molly they’re all alone in the cabin together and that they “can still have fun,” is Angela’s awkward way of hitting on her.) “Just say no!” even gets a name check. Further more, the whole premise of Pamela Springsteen, who probably weighed 90 pounds soaking wet, killing an entire camp full of older women, adult men, and wily kids is sort of hilarious and subversive in and off itself. Of course, the scene directly poking fun at the Big Two is fantastically sly too.

The gore is great and supports some truly creative kills. The outhouse murder might be the grossest kill in any slasher film. The movie is also loaded with sex and nudity. (Valerie Hartman should be inducted into some sort of Horror Nudity Hall of Fame. She must be nude for half of her screen time.) About the only negative thing I can say about this is the non-conclusive ending is pretty weak… and it’s way too short! We need more Angela! (9/10)

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