Archive for the 'Slasher' Category

Jul

Happy Birthday to Me

The movie industry hit it big in the horror genre with the now slasher legends Halloween and Friday the 13th. It opened a flood gate of imitators and wanna-be’s, many of which copied the formula too closely, leaving them to be called ripped offs. Not all of them, mind you. Some of these ‘rip offs’ managed to take the basic components of slasher formula and run with it, making their own unique film. Two of these films just happen to be Canadian! I mean, can you believe it? My Bloody Valentine and Happy Birthday to Me would slip out from their predecessor’s shadows and right into the radar of the MPAA.

Happy Birthday to Me, which seems like a silly little horror flick at first glance, is actually full of surprise shocks in this ‘who-done-it?’ mystery, chock full of violence and gore… which unfortunately the before mentioned MPAA had a field day cutting.

So meet Virginia, she smokes a pack a day, but wait, that’s me… Wait. Those are Train lyrics. I apologize. Allow me to restart. Meet Virginia, newly accepted into the elite ‘Top Ten’, a snobbish group of the richest kids at the Crawford Academy and I have to say… they are all douche bags. Every single one of them. Every night, the group meets every night at the Silent Women Tavern. This is where the film’s first kill comes in. One of the top ten, Bernadette, is nearly strangled in her car by an unknown assailant until she escapes from the vehicle only to have her throat slashed.

The rest of the Top Ten barely seems concerned that one of their friends never showed up (or is even present for the remainder of the rest of the film). After one of the Ten, Greg, causes a problem like the bro he is with another patron, the crew flee the scene to jump a bridge that they call ‘The Game.’ You can see the level of creativity in this group. Virginia shouts ‘Mother’ as the vehicle she is riding in jumps the bridge. Her only real friend, Ann, tries to stop her. Upon landing, she runs out of the vehicle and straight to her mother’s grave, boasting how proud she would be of her for finally being part of the exclusive socialite club. Clearly, we have a healthy individual for the remainder of this nearly two hour film.

HBTMVirginia sees a therapist, Dr. Faraday, who is clearly in his sixties and overweight, but that doesn’t stop him from wearing skin tight polyester button ups, proudly showing off his pasty, hairy chest (resembling if you put pubic hair all over bread dough) with a gold medallion dangling loosely. Because, let’s be honest. That’s who you want advice from when you are trying to piece a tragic childhood together that you can only remember fragments of. Which is what happens throughout the course of the film: Virginia assembles, piece by piece, what exactly happened to her.

Virginia’s father leaves away for business during the weekend of her birthday and while this is going on, members of the elegant Top Ten begin to die in horrible fashions. The creepy foreign exchange student (and I mean creepy. The dude breaks into Virginia’s room to steal panties) gets his face ripped apart by a motorcycle, Greg has his chest smashed by his own weight set, only after having an epiphany that the group is growing distant and Alfred… poor Alfred. Regardless of how creepy this individual may seem, the poor guy is gutted while trying to give Virginia flowers one night when she is visiting her mother’s grave. So, does this make her the killer?

The next day at the school dance, she brings home another member, Steve, only to skewer him through the face with a kabob, so yeah… I guess that kinda does make her the culprit. Loud and clear. Or does it? Well, trying to figure out what is going on, Dr. Faraday stays with her while her father is gone and I have to say, this is actually kinda creepy. You definitely get a sexual vibe from him. I know it’s probably supposed to come off as more of a caring guardian figure, but it doesn’t. Anyway, he fails to give her any answer, so she kills him with a fire poker.

During the movie’s climax, the day of Virginia’s birthday, Virginia finally pieces together her history, learning that her mother was a drunk and was having an affair. Her mother, after throwing Virginia a birthday party, which none of the Top Ten showed up to, drives straight to her lover’s house to confront him and we learn Virginia has a half sister. On the way home, Virginia’s mother flies off the bridge, drowning herself and nearly killing Virginia. After this revelation, the killer comes forward, just in time as her father comes home to celebrate her birthday.

HBTMThis all leads up to an ending with quite a unique twist. This twist unfortunately doesn’t have much of a build-up do to rewrites and can seemingly come out of nowhere, possibly turning the viewers head to the side as they ponder aloud, “huh?” This doesn’t it make it any less effective, however. In fact, the movie ends on a note of uncertainty and dread, all while Virginia sings “Happy Birthday to Me.”

Happy Birthday to Me seems like it may be a low budget hack and slash, but it’s actual a very sharp, studio film, directed by J. Lee Thompson, the director Cape Fear. Sure it follows pieces of your standard slasher formula and at times the characters seem quite dimwitted. The film will also suspend your sense of belief at times, but never loses its’ charm. If you’ve never seen this film, you’ll keep guessing as to who the killer may be and what secrets they are trying to hide as the Top Ten is massacred one by one, which is a shame this film was heavily edited. There were some very gory death scenes. It’s always interested me that an uncut version of My Bloody Valentine exists, but not Happy Birthday to Me. It’s a shame.

Also interesting to note, before the Anchor Bay release of the film in 2009 which had the film’s original score, the previous DVD release by Colombia Pictures, for some bizarre and inhumane reason, replaced the creepy score by Bo Harwood and Lance Rubin, in favor of some ear vomiting disco. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of that edition. That soundtrack is bad enough to kill you.

roadside attractions

  • Matching gloves and scarf.
  • Who’s the douchiest?
  • Motorcycle Face lift.
  • Bench pressed.
  • It ain’t brain surgery.
  • Have your cake and eat it too.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Total gore-fest… is what I would say if the MPAA didn’t butcher this film.

5

blood

BREASTS

Steamy shower scene… plus Greg pumps iron, ladies.

7

beast

BEASTS

Yo, that Virginia chick be mad cray-cray! And that ain’t all!

6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie here.

trailers

dripper
Jun

Deep Red

Dario Argento, also known as the Italian Hitchcock. Not because he is a white, overweight, sexual deviant harassing his stars, but because he understands what makes a horror/thriller really good: suspense. The man really knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat (or in my case, a cheap, broken futon) and when it builds up until it can’t build up anymore, it knocks the breath out of you and kicks you back, but you come back for more. It’s a rush. Furthermore, both Hitchcock and Argento’s stories focus on a protagonist who is trying to solve a murder on their own. There’s something people don’t do anymore. Nowadays people just call the police. Boring.

I thought it would be appropriate if we took a look at the film that put Dario Argento on the radar, Profondo Rosso a.k.a. Deep Red or The Hatchet Murders (yeah, Italian films usually had at least eight or nine different titles). The movie starts off heartwarmingly terrifying enough with a struggle between two characters we can’t see, until one of them is stabbed to death and we hear a child scream, over a creepy child’s tune. It’s a familiar set up, but it’s Dario Argento’s execution throughout the film that makes this shocking and unique.

The LampThat was just the title credits, by the way. The film follows pianist (tee hee) Marcus, who one day heading home after visiting his friend Carlo, who has some rather odd jokes about rape and is involved with a transvestite (because, why not?), witnesses the death of a medium, Helga Ulmann. Earlier that day, Helga was using her sweet Professor X type powers (ok, they weren’t that cool) and begins to hear that child’s tune we heard at the beginning. Upon reading into this, she fingers a dark and twisted mind in the audience and then in a very stylish (and later to become Argento’s trademark) POV shot, that person gets up and leaves the lecture to kill Helga for being ousted. Or maybe they really had to pee.

Anyway, Marcus fails to save the medium and remembers a painting of several faces missing from the apartment, which will come into play later. But for now, we are introduced to what is probably the Italian film industry’s favorite occupation, reporter. This reporter, Gianna, is played by Daria Nicolodi, who will go on to collaborate with Dario Argento in many other films. She’s one of those no nonsense, women’s lib kinda girl (by the way, we here at The Lost Highway are down with the whole Women’s Lib thing…). Marcus can’t let go of this mystery. He searches for Carlo to ask him what he remembers from the night of the murder and we meet Carlo’s mother, who makes Angela’s Aunt from Sleepaway Camp look subtle and sane. Later, Marcus hears that same tune, only he is able to save his own skin. He and Gianna decide to look into this tune with the help of psychiatrist Dr. Giordani, who was an associate of Helga’s. This brings them to writer Amanda Righetti, who is murdered before Marcus can talk to her, but she leaves a very clever message written on her bathroom wall that is uncovered when Girodani later visits the crime scene and steams up the room (I just read how bad that sounds…)!

The LampThis turns out to be unfortunate for him, however. He basically put a giant bullseye on his back and partakes in what is one of the creepiest scenes to involve a doll. Perhaps influencing the Billy puppet from Saw, a two-foot-something puppet runs out from behind a curtain scaring the poop out of him! His reaction is that he is quite startled, but I think I would have screamed and ran around setting fire to the room. Meanwhile, Marcus and Gianna continue their end of the investigation in a deserted house, with plenty of close calls and thrills, tying all the previous clues together, bringing them to more clues. Only this time, the clues seem to point at Carlo as the culprit, who stabs Gianna and holds Marcus at gunpoint… but he couldn’t have been the killer, could he? Marcus was talking to him when Helga was killed. Hmm, further and further down the rabbit hole… It’s now in the final act that Marcus remembers what was in that painting he saw: The face of the killer! But who could it be? So many odd, colorful characters that it could be.

The movie concludes nicely, tying up all loose ends while making it look good, all in a grisly, gory, good old fashioned death scene with plenty of blood and gore. Deep Red doesn’t skip in that department, so all you sickos can get your fix here.

All of this stretches out over a two hour run time, which does seem a bit long for this. Being one of Dario Argento’s earlier works, as good as the suspense and tension is, it can feel drawn out. Deep Red definitely takes it time getting from one point to another, which can turn off some viewers (although they certainly would be missing an excellent movie). And if you are watching the Director’s Cut that Blue Underground put out back in 2007, the dialogue goes from English dubbed to Italian dubbed with English subtitles, since a fully dubbed Director’s Cut does not exist, it can be distracting to those who don’t want to read their movie during certain scenes.

Deep Red is intense, shocking and violent. It’s a mystery that will keep you guessing and you’ll get excited with each clue toward to reveal of the killer. No matter how many times I see this, sometimes I forget who the killer is and it’s like I’m watching it for the very first time. So, turn off the lights and lock the doors, and watch one of the more suspenseful movies from the 70’s. But, get the hell out of there if you start to hear any creepy children’s music.

roadside attractions

  • Take a shot every time you hear that children’s tune.
  • Take another shot every time there is atrocious dubbing.
  • Shaved with Glass!
  • Tranny Troubles.
  • Dolly Dearest.
  • Steaming up the bathroom.
  • Elevator Decapitation!
  • Pianist.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

For a giallo, you see plenty of hacking, slashing and even a decapitation!

4

blood

BREASTS

Closest we get is a tranny and a psychic in robes.

8

beast

BEASTS

A tranny, a psychic, a pianist, a reporter and a crazy killer.

7 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie here.

trailers

dripper
Jun

What is it about the deep south that brings hapless victims and mutants together like old people to casinos? In “The Bloodstalkers,” it’s that constant state of weird, Florida. I Blame it on the humidity, an obsession with tree fruit or senior prescriptions seeping into the water supply. There ain’t no nekkid face eatin’  in this one, but I do have  suspicion the director had been snortin’ the bath salts one too many times.

Mike (Jerry Albert) is taking his wife Kim  down to the Everglads to check out a cabin he inherited. Along for the ride is  Danny (Ken Miller) a poor excuse for a used car salesman along with his stripper girlfriend Jeri (Celaa Anne Cole.) Yes, the same Celaa Anne Cole who shoke her shiny future  hinny in Space Mutiny.

While driving the backroads, they stop at a local gas station hoping to find some breathable polyster jackets and trucker hats. Instead they’re warned by a crotchety store owner to “stay away from them woods…ya varmits” ok he didn’t say “ya varmits” but I swear he threw in a “horn swaggle and a “dang nabbit” in there somewhere. Mike and friends laugh it off so they can get quicker to their deaths and ask for directions from a roadside deaf mute who makes popping noises with his tongue (sorry ladies he’s already taken.) Like a redneck Onstar, he points them to an overgrown trail leading to their shack in the swamp but their brady bunch station wagon gets stuck and they have to hoof it on foot.

There’s quite a long time before any killing so we learn about Mike’s post traumatic Stress disorder, Kim’s love of denim and how Jeri is a really bad stripper ever since becoming a nun. Ok I made up that last part but it was still more interesting than their actual story. Mike takes a skinny dip with Kim to get away from Danny and Jeri’s constant dry humping on furniture so they relax in a swamp hole behind the cabin. Lots of backwoods nookie and 70’s folks music before Kim catches a glimpse of a furry man hanging out on the deep end of their oozie jacuzzi. Mike doesn’t see it (likely due to how dark this film is) so they head back to the shack to dry off leaving the swamp sasquatch to throw mud pies at their car.

Later that night, Jeri is attacked by a furry hand  through their window trying to coop a feel, but Mike scares him away with a mini-pistol he won in a crane game. Jeri goes  into catatonic shock and Mike in a bold heroic move leave everyone at the cabin alone and heads back to town for help. Along the way he get hassled  by some drunk Miami Dolphin fans and meets the town’s minister who tells him the truth about the cabin, sasquastch and recites entire book of Leviticus.

Ken hightales it back to the cabin while a church choir sings his action theme music only to find his wife and friends murdered and left in humorous poses. Yet another mass mime homcide. The town sherrif shows up late to let Ken know those rednecks in town were actually poachers and the cabin is where they kept the goods but Ken is too busy workin’ up some tears over his impaled girlfriend to care.  One of the poachers dressed in a monkey suit shows up for a one man game of shotgun roulette while the rest of poachers take down the sheriff. Limbs are chopped, bell bottoms are soiled and Mike has to walk back to town alone since everyone he knows and loves is dead… but hey it’s the 70’s so he’s still mello.

Barry Goodall says track down Bloodstalkers for some deep hurting cajun style. It might make you wish the south did secede.

roadside attractions

  • scythe to throat
  • multiple axings to various body parts
  • shotgun to chest
  • mute redneck GPS
  • swampwater skinny dippin’
  • neck and hand choppin’
  • a creepy shirtless Ken Miller
  • Brady Bunch stationwagon
  • Baptist choir killer theme music
  • Rednecks poachers in ape suits
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Wait for it….wait for it…

7

blood

BREASTS

Skinny dippin’ C cups and some cleavage on display. But nothin’ to write home about. Wait, that would be a weird thing to write home about.

5

beast

BEASTS

The Bloodstalkers who really aren’t sasquash but merely unshaven Floridians. Go Dolphins!!!

5.0 OVERALL
dripper

They should heed the warning of the old swamp rat, kerwin … “That’s Bloodstalker Country … nobody can survive out there overnight!.”

Check out this b-movie survival tip from “The Bloodstalkers”

trailers

dripper
May

‘Clean up in aisle DEAD!’ Or maybe, ‘Price check for some DEATH!’ Or how about, ‘Attention shoppers… your local grocery store will be MURDERING you in fifteen minutes. So please bring your final purchases to the front lanes…’ Yeah anyway, let’s talk about Intruder!

So what do you get when you take a good chunk of the cast and crew of Evil Dead 2 and put them in a grocery store? You know where I’m going with this. Originally a short film entitled ‘Night Shift’, Intruder centers on a crew of grocery store employees closing the store as they are picked off one by one by a… well, an Intruder. There is more to it than that though.

We get introduced to the silly cast of characters, when Jennifer’s (Elizabeth Cox… and yes, she was Kathy in Night of the Creeps) deranged ex-boyfriend Craig (David Byrnes), who not only is rocking the world’s toughest mullet with a leather jacket, but also tries to threaten Jennifer into a date. Kinda surprised it didn’t work. Thought women liked men who are straight forward. Snapping into action, Linda, the more talented, yet greatly underappreciated Estevez sister, Renee, flips the poop switch and along side of the whole store beat Craig’s arse until he leaves. Man and you thought rent-a-cops were bad!

Now that this problem is out of the way, the crew is informed by store manager Danny (Eugene Glazer) and co-manager Bill (Danny Hicks! You know, the redneck guy that screams, “BOBBI-JOOOOO!” in Evil Dead 2!) informs them the store is closing forever. Not surprising, with the state of the economy and all.

Like any good stalker, Craig continues to call the store and harass Jennifer, so they call the police. In typical slasher form, they are totally useless… so, oh well. Linda finishes up her work and is immediately murdered. Some copies of the box art advertise it like Renee Estevez is the heroine of the film, so I can see how what I just wrote may be confusing to some people who have never seen the film, but have passed by the video in a store and only picked up the box and said, “Hmm… this could be good, but let’s get Grumpier Old Men instead.”

The crew decides to multi-task and search for Craig while working. Bill investigates outside, but is knocked out by Craig, so surely he is the killer…right? And this is the point where everyone is picked off one by one in some of the most grotesque and brutal manners. Hopefully you see the Director’s Cut (which is pretty much every DVD and the Blu-Ray copies) and not any other edition, because the death scenes are heavily cut. Intruder boasts some really amazing special effects by KNB. The Blu-Ray even includes extended death scenes (work print quality) as a bonus feature! People get their head’s sawn in half, hung up by meat hooks, eyes gouged out and a head even gets crushed by a trash compactor!

Also, this is Scott Speigel’s directorial debut and I have to say… he chooses some very interesting cinematography. A lot of random items get their own POV shots, like a door knob, a bottle of liquor… these are all very stylish and cool looking.

Now I can’t really go too much more into the film without spoiling the ending, although some older box art does spoil who the killer is. Instead, I’ll conclude by saying Intruder is a bloody good time. Everyone does a top notch job and even some of the over the top moments are fun to watch. You can tell everyone was having a good time making this film and it really shows. Danny Hicks has some of the best line deliveries and tells an amusing story about being a fireman. Ted Raimi is funny to watch as always and it’s interesting to see Sam Raimi in front of the camera acting. It’s also interesting to note that Bruce Campbell got top billing (courtesy of Paramount’s ‘great’ marketing), although he is only in the film for a mere moment. Add that to all of the great gore effects with some pretty creepy atmosphere and you have a recipe for a good ol’ fashioned slasher. If you don’t have Intruder or have never seen it, then you are dead to me. We can no longer see each other, but we can still be friends. I want to see other people and I am breaking up with you… until you see Intruder.

roadside attractions

  • A non-crazy Sheen/Estevez
  • Dude with a ‘tude mullet?
  • Broom POV
  • Compacted cranium
  • Slice ‘n dice head cheese
  • Slab o’ meat?-Half off sale
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Splish, splash, splat!

0

blood

BREASTS

Get your fill elsewhere, sickos!

7

beast

BEASTS

Just one little blood thirsty ankle bitter but he does plenty of damage. Somebody should get this kid a pacifier.

8.2 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for “The Intruder”

trailers

dripper
Jan

posted by Barry Goodall | January 13, 2012 | Feature, Slasher

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th is a day that conjures up walking under ladders, broken mirrors, black cats crossing your path and a really ticked off goalie making mince meat out of big breasted teenagers, yeah that includes the annoying chubby guy. Well at Lost Highway we feel today is like a national holiday and as a result we plan to get drunk and start sorting our power tools. So while we likely take a trip to ReadyCare you should stop over at the T-shirt bordello and consider buying one of these amazing Jason inspired t-shirts and for today only they are offering them for only $10 each!!! Yes, they ‘re slashing prices and passing the bodies on to you.
T-shirt bordello is one of our new advertising partners and is offering some amazing horrific and humorous t-shirts for your favorite co-ed camper guidance counselor so hurry up and get your Jason on and tell em’ Lost Highway sent ya.
Meat Spider
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