Slasher

[6.5] Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the franchise that launched her career in Halloween (same title, 40 years apart). This new film ignores every single sequel in the franchise and serves as a direct follow-up to John Carpenter’s original 1978 film. And it’s just as well, because the Halloween ‘franchise’ is shaky at best. Curtis’ teenaged babysitter from ’78 is now a gun-toting grandma whose …

[5.0] Happy Death Day is Groundhog Day meets Scream, but not as interesting as either of those films. Jessica Rothe stars as a sorority girl who relives her birthday over and over again, each time ending in her death at the hands of a mysterious baby-masked killer. I’m not a fan of cyclical narratives or gimmicky movies, so to be honest, I was already dreading …

[2.5] A cannibal stalks campers while the ghosts of his two children haunt the forest in this goofy wannabe slasher flick that, despite having nature at the ready, lacks any atmosphere whatsoever. There’s a nice scene where a bad actor doesn’t realize he’s eating his own girlfriend, and the soundtrack is kinda cool in that gitchy, synthesized way, but other than that, The Forest is …

[3.5] I dislike remakes in general, but Michael Bay can kiss a special place on my ass for remaking and homogenizing every horror classic from my childhood. His Platinum Dunes company is a shit factory, and A Nightmare on Elm Street doesn’t buck the trend. Bay’s director of choice here (miscellaneous hack so-and-so) can’t resist but tinker with Freddy’ backstory, putting too fine a point …

[6.5] You really aren’t supposed to return to a well too many times. But in the case of the Scream franchise, I was still thirsty. So I drank… and the water’s still good! Of course the novelty has worn off, but unlike many other horror franchises, the characters have grown and developed, and gosh-darn it, you actually care about Sidney Prescott, Gale Weathers, and dopey …

[6.5] More of a verite, psychological approach to the slasher genre than most of the ’80s slasher windfall, William Lustig’s Maniac rises above its exploitation roots by putting us inside the killer’s mind and keeping us there, even as his sanity starts to unravel. The killer’s back story may be a little cloying, but Joe Spinell delivers a terrific leading performance, and the dream-like ending seals …

[6.0] When a WWII vet returns home to find his true love in the arms of another man, the town scores a legendary double-murder. Thirty-five years later, the town decides to throw the same dance… and the killer decides to pay a return visit. It may not be as famous as Jason or Michael’s outings, but The Prowler is a quintessential slasher film nonetheless. Tom …

[7.0] More of the same is enough to earn a passing grade in the case of Scream 2. Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is off to college, but Ghost Face isn’t through with her yet, shoving the sordid story of her mother’s sexual indiscretions and brutal murder front and center. Courtney Cox and David Arquette get more screen time to develop an odd but affecting romantic …

[6.5] This stand-alone slasher flick from Bob and Harvey Weinstein (the first Miramax film production) rivals the best of the Friday the 13th fare. The requisite nubile flesh and gory kill scenes are here, but the teen protagonists are more likable than usual and the film creates a genuinely creepy atmosphere throughout. With its lakeside camp setting and deformed villain, The Burning isn’t going to …

#12: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)  [2.0] This is the worst of the Fridays. The subtitle is a misleading marketing gimmick, as Jason only arrives in Manhattan for the last twenty minutes. Those twenty minutes are okay, if only to see Jason put a few New Yorkers in their place. But the rest of the movie is interminably boring and the …

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