The Burning: chosen by General Relativity
Cropsey, protagonist slasher of “The Burning”, is a camp maintenance dude who is brutally burned in prank gone wrong. Written by Oscar-grubbing producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, “The Burning” is one of the archetypal summer camp slasher movies. Among the highlights, a brutally slow murder of a prostitute and incredibly swift takedown of about five kids on a raft using an absurdly sharp pair of hedge clippers. Also Jason “George Costanza” Alexander plays a a cool athletic bro, whose full head of curly hair is the envy of all campers and Fisher Stevens, of Short Circuit, plays a skinny weirdo. I can relate to Cropsey. When I was in 3rd grade, I attended Junior Chrono-scout camp. I was teased by the cool kids and jocks, probably because my interests skewed toward reading books about spacetime rather than pogs or yo-yos. One night, when I was out stargazing with my melvin friends, Ed Podgorski took my whitey tighty briefs out of my bag and threw them on the roof of the cabin. So I murdered him and his entire group of friends and I have returned to the Junior Chrono-naut Camp ever year on the anniversary to exact the same vengeance.
Friday the 13th: Part 3D: chosen by Die-Anne Takillya
To me, this is the best of the F13 franchise. Of course, I’m a sucker for cheesy 3D effects; after all, nothing says ‘good times’ like objects flying at your face… ahem. But yes, this is the flick with some of the best kills: Harpoon gun to the eye, bare hands skull crushing, upside down male bisection right through the groceries, yikes!! Also, for my money, this one has the best old guy that predicts doom for the horny teenagers, I mean, he’s waving an eyeball around! Why don’t they listen? My only complaint about this one is the ridiculous side-story about Chris and her already surviving Jason once. Personally, I think final girl rules should have applied here, and she should have ended up taking a dirt nap, just like Adrienne King’s character in Part 2. But, we have to chase her traumatized behind around and she has not one, but two- count ‘em: TWO! floating canoe hallucination-driven freakouts before the authorities drag her out of our lives forever. The hallmark of this one is of course Jason donning his trademark hockey mask, red markings and all. Other highlights include wormy boy getting the best of some rude biker punks, an excellent sweater knotted around the neck by Rick, Chris’ uptight yuppie boyfriend, and a pair of the biggest bongs I’ve ever seen. Let’s pack up and take a trip to Crystal Lake!
Madman: chosen by The Goon
Would you believe that Madman was originally based on the Cropsy Murders tale? No? Are you calling me a liar? Well, it’s true. But some other movie called The Burning came out first (heard that some Fisher Stevens and Jason Alexander dudes were in it and that Tom Savini guy did the effects… might be worth checking out), so they had to tweak the story a bit. Madman takes place on the last day of camp and during a cautionary tale about the title character, Madman Marz, one of the campers shouts his name and so the hunt begins! Marz, a very large dude who stomps around ripping and bashing things apart, stalks the camp, picking off the stupid counselors one by one as they do stupid things. Have I mentioned they’re stupid? They follow the formulated clichés, which could turn you off, but luckily the film saves it with over the top, gory deaths. Madman takes course over one dark night, which helps keep the story flowing at a good pace and I have to mention how well lit this movie is. The blue hues, mixed with the ambiance of howling wind and creaking wood floors, give the film a calm, but alarming feel to it. Overall, Madman is an underrated slasher, most likely due to its seemingly simple setup… and hammy acting, but underneath that is a gory, interesting slasher flick with a lot to offer. During the film, you’re left with that ‘last day of camp’ sadness, because you found who you were, you made friends and now you’re leaving… because you are being murdered. Oh, don’t expect this film to end happily. Interesting enough, there was supposed to be a sequel, involving the two surviving characters, one of which was institutionalized, but it never came to be. Oh yeah, check out my video review for Madman!
Hotel Hell: chosen by Barry Goodall
There are a lot of reasons not to stay in cheap motels in the south. Bed bugs, cross burnings in the courtyards or the possibility of ending up in the owner’s BBQ recipe just to name a few. Motel Hell instilled this fear in me at an early age and nearly made me go vegan. Well only briefly, but who really wants to move to Portland? It stars the amazing Rory Calhoun as the hotel owner Farmer Vincent. He and his crazy sister have been kidnapping tourists and grinding them up into their BBQ meat to sell to the townsfolk. But a good BBQ recipe is all in the preparation and Farmer Vincent likes to plant his victims up to their necks first and then cuts their vocal cords so they sound like they’re gargling mouth wash. I think that keeps em’ from tasting too gamey. Silly at times and disturbing at others it’s one of the classic summer time b-movies. Also be on the lookout for a guy in a pig’s head with a chainsaw during the gratuitous “damsel in distress strapped to a conveyor belt” scene. Remember, it takes all kinds of critters…to make Farmer Vincents fritters.
Jaws: chosen by Tiger Sixon
Most horror films make ya scared of the dark, be it with mask wearing psychos, slime covered aliens, or zombie insurance salesmen. It takes a special kind of horror film to make you scared of the DAY, as Jaws does. Nothing screams “summertime” more than swimming on a crowded beach on a nice afternoon. In Jaws though, the screams of “summertime” quickly turn to “SHARK!” as a man-eating beast from the deep makes a snack out o’ humans. The shark ruins all kinds of summer fun: sailing, swimming, holiday trips with relatives you can’t stand, and more. With blood and beast to spare, Jaws remains a summer classic–and still keeps people outta the water.
Sleepaway Camp: chosen by Doktor
Summer is a accursed mixture of the sublime and the horrific: beautiful girls in bikinis and screaming heat waves which melt pavement; three months off and nothing to do; summer camp. Summer camp is the epitome of the best and worst that summer has to offer, and Sleepaway Camp is the motion picture embodiment of summer camp. There are horny, idiot boys and snotty, mean girls. Creepy camp counselors and staff. Idiotic group games and activities. Awkward making out which reminds you of the time you secretly watched Daddy and second daddy making love. Wait, what? … And then there’s the really scary stuff, the things you get lifelong therapy for: short shorts and half shirts, on the guys. BLARGH! Best of all, just like boarding the bus to return home, Sleepaway Camp knows how to put innocent summer fun to an end with extreme prejudice. Choke on that, M. Night Shyamalan.